Live Reviews

Emeli Sande Kills It At KOKO, Camden

On the final date of her UK headline tour, Scottish Soul singer/songwriter Emeli Sande was on stage at KOKO in Camden last night for a sold out date before the release of her forthcoming album next year. Having already released singles ‘Daddy’ and ‘Heaven’ TaleTela was invited down to the gig to take a look at what was in store for us when the LP hits stores next February…

After support act To Kill A King left the stage, with a few dramatic piano chords singer/songwriter Emeli Sande’s band began to start up onstage at KOKO in Camden last night. To a second round of cheers the 24-year old bundled into the limelight and got straight into her set list which was taken from her debut LP Our Version Of Things.

There was already a palpable level of respect for the much talked about Aberdeen artist in the room before she came out, and with her trademark blonde tresses swept to one side, microphone in hand Sande ripped into her first track of the night ‘Tiger’ with a fierce energy like that of an new MC. Covering the whole stage, her pitch-perfect vocals travelled along the PA system smoothly prompting the audience to clap further when she belted a show stopping run of notes.

Sande wasn’t exactly nervous onstage, but was visibly humbled, seeming to want the songs themselves to be seen first in all their glory. After telling the crowd, “It’s so special to me that I sold out KOKO,” she previewed track ‘Where I Sleep.’ The singer managed to connect very quickly with the floor; charmingly laying the groundwork for the next song she was about to sing.  The notes seemed to ache out of the singer has she performed, hunched over and feeling for every word that came out of her mouth she moved on the Dolly Parton inspired heartbreaker ‘Suitcase.’

The song documents the singer confused as to why the love of her life leaving home with the lyrics, “I can’t stop my heart leaving through the door…all I did was love him, I can’t stop him walking.” Her performance of this track cemented this lady as a real threat to the charts over the coming years. Her technique was rock solid, without any showboating and moved more than a few fans in the room to actually shed a tear.

Before taking to a piano to sing ‘Clown’ the singer spoke to the fans again on a personal level about going for your dreams in life, despite what onlookers may say. “There is always going to be someone to tell you ‘I told you so’” she confidently added. Sande later confessed to the venue that highlight track ‘My Kind Of Love’ was her favourite cut off the album, and subsequently gave a performance that had her soaring on the chorus. Throughout her show she utilised her own emotions in a way that many singers can’t, and the pained expressions on her face gave the audience only a small look into the depths of the songwriter.

After taking to the piano once more to perform a track written with Alicia Keys called ‘Hope’ the singer then got in a crowd pleasing medley of the hits she has featured on with other UK artists like Chipmunk, Tinie Tempah, Wiley and most recently Professor Green on UK number one hit ‘Read All About It.’ Her band really shone here, breaking into a carnival version of ‘Never Be Your Woman’ and giving the show the celebratory kick that it needed.

Second single off the album ‘Daddy’ was sung with a bubbling menace that had the whole venue chanting along to the chorus, throwing their fists in the air. By the time Sande blessed the room with an extended version her debut hit ‘Heaven’ the venue was just about ready to take flight. Artists like Sande shine live, and it will be interesting to see to what extent her forthcoming record can re-capture the unpretentious depth that the songs she showcased last night displayed. As the fans cried for more, Sande left the stage as her band finished up, eventually leaving the fans to enjoy the sounds of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Heard It Through The Grapevine’ on the sound system…

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